Kaman Aerospace (Booth No. 4922) said it is soliciting customer interest here at Heli-Expo to resume production of the civil variant of its K-Max heavy external lift helicopter. The K-Max was certified in 1994, and autonomously piloted models have recently been flying for the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan. Civil versions of the aircraft have long been used in construction, firefighting and logging applications.
The U.S. Marine Corps has extended Lockheed Martin’s contract to operate two K-Max unmanned helicopters in Afghanistan into next year. Operating there since December 2011, the converted Kaman cargo-lifting machines have demonstrated a 97-percent operational availability, according to Lockheed Martin. The company hopes that either the Marines or the U.S. Army will create a formal program of record for the K-Max, for at least one unit operating six helicopters.
Kaman Aerospace, perhaps best known for its iconic K-Max heavy-lift helicopter, is at Heli-Expo emphasizing its newly reorganized identity as “One Kaman.”
“We’re a company that can handle anything from metal and composite structures to complete systems design, as well as manufacture of tooling–our own and that of our customers,” said Gary Tenison, Kaman Aerospace v-p of business development and marketing.
The U.S. Marine Corps has extended the deployment of two K-Max unmanned helicopters used for cargo resupply missions in Afghanistan by six months, through March next year. The extension, announced on July 31, is the second this year and includes an option to extend the deployment through September next year.
The two K-Max unmanned helicopters deployed to Afghanistan late last year by the U.S. Marine Corps are performing well, according to contractor Lockheed Martin. The unmanned K-Max carries underslung loads, and was developed from the Kaman Aerospace intermeshing-rotor design intended for piloted forestry and firefighting work.
Kaman Helicopters’ (Booth No. 5222) K-Max “unmanned aerial truck” has delivered nearly 200,000 pounds of cargo since the helicopter entered service in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marine Corps on December 17. Two of the pilotless, heavy-lift helicopters have logged about 100 hours over the skies of Afghanistan on cargo missions.
Kaman Helicopters’ K-Max “unmanned aerial truck” has delivered nearly 200,000 pounds of cargo since the helicopter entered service in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marine Corps on December 17. To date, two of the pilotless, heavy-lift helicopters have logged about 100 hours in the skies over Afghanistan on cargo missions.
Kaman Aerospace is more diversified organization than many realize, offering what it calls a “total OEM solution.” Over the past year, it has acquired several different companies, the majority of which are composites specialists. To learn more about the company and its current projects, including the K-Max unmanned aerial truck, AIN caught up with Kaman Helicopters president Sal Bordonaro at Heli-Expo.
Kaman Helicopters continues to write new chapters in its history, including the un-manned K-Max, subcontract manufacturing and rotor-blade development and production.
At Heli-Expo’12, Kaman is showcasing its products and services at Booth No. 5222 with executives and technical experts available for the duration of the show.
A cornucopia of copters and rotorcraft-related gizmos, conference sessions and conversations awaits attendees at the Helicopter Association International’s annual Heli-Expo, to be held in Dallas February 11 to 14. This year, HAI is expecting more than 18,000 visitors, 65 helicopters and 600 exhibitors at the Dallas Convention Center.
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